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Renfield: Slave of Dracula

3.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  636 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
An imaginative novel that puts a fresh and frightening new spin on Bram Stoker's Dracula.

The servant Renfield was the most enigmatic character to stalk in the shadows of Dracula. Now he takes center stage in an ingenious re-imagining of Bram Stoker's classic novel that explores the chilling circumstances of his insane devotion to the Vampire Prince. An inmate of Rushbrook
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Berkley Hardcover (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,871)
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A fun read and very well done with working everything together from Stoker's book. Having previously read Dracula would enhance the enjoyment, but even if you've only seen a movie, you should have the necessary back history.
Jan 11, 2012 Tarl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal, vampire
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book. I had read Dracula back in school and had enjoyed it. As soon as I started on the journey that was this book, I couldn't stop myself from turning each page and staying up long past when I should just to read one more page.
Hambly does a wonderful job fleshing out the character of Renfield. To the point where you understand why he went insane and why he chose to serve Dracula the way he did. The insights of his letters, mixed in with actual
Oct 17, 2011 Alexander rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of "Dracula," Victorian-era horror and Gothic tales, and vampire stories in general
I wish that Goodreads allowed half-star ratings, because I would have given it 4 and 1/2. It deserves more than 4, but just misses the 5-mark of "Oh my god, this is one of the best books ever."

I have to hand it to Hambly, she certainly took on an enigmatic and difficult subject. In the original "Dracula," not much is said of Renfield, other than the fact that he eats insects and birds, that he tried to escape several times, and that he eventually tried to stop Dracula from doing something. Other
Jun 10, 2008 Gabrielle rated it it was amazing
I am usually quite wary of novels based on classics being a firm believer that one should not tamper with historic greatness. However, every once in a while I stumble upon a truly unique interpretation, which redefines a time-tested tale, shedding new light on what might otherwise have been overlooked as it gathered cobwebs. Barbara Hambly’s 2006 novel Renfield: Slave of Dracula is one such creation.

With one of the strongest literary voices I have had the honor of reading to date, Hambly has man
Jul 31, 2012 Jessica rated it did not like it
I had high hopes for this book since I had enjoyed Barbara Hambly's Star Wars novels when I was a teenager and practically everything dealing with Dracula is A-OK in my book, however, this one fell short. I felt this retelling of Bram Stoker's famous work didn't offer much in the way of new material. The fascinating, insect-eating character of Renfield has a highly predictable and just plain boring storyline. In short, this book had a lot of potential, but readers would be better off picking up ...more
Nov 03, 2015 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: halloween-2015
Meh. This probably deserves more stars than I am giving it, but I only barely enjoyed this account of Renfield's unseen actions during the course of Dracula. Hambly adopts the weaknesses of that novel, such as the atrocious rendering of accents, and loses the redeeming qualities, such as the advent of new technologies and their affect on society.

Hambly sticks closely to the events in Dracula, and, while this is admirable, it telegraphs plot twists fifty or more pages ahead of time. The reader c
Feb 23, 2015 Jen rated it it was ok
When tackling a classic like "Dracula," it's going to be hard to stand on your own ground as an author. Hambly does try, and I give her points for that; I like that she mostly kept Stoker's rhythm of telling the story via letters and such (I find the prose pieces somewhat flat).

This sideways view of telling the story from Renfield's aspect was a good concept, and I think Hambly does well with making a madman a semi-approachable character. He wasn't all that interesting until about halfway throu
Jackie "the Librarian"
Sep 29, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Pointless retelling of Bram Stoker's original. Don't bother. This is a rehash of Dracula, from Renfield's point of view. There is nothing new here. I suppose if you haven't read Dracula, you might enjoy it.
Feb 07, 2011 Hilary rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I am a Barbara Hambly fan, but I am not a fan of this book. Aside from the Bridget Jones-like recording of Renfield's diet -- X flies, X spiders, 1 prostitute -- I found little to amuse me.
Nov 12, 2014 Megan rated it did not like it
My first experience with Barbara Hambly was her book Planet of Twilight, which is not a highly-rated Star Wars book set ten years after Return of the Jedi. It’s a lackluster story notable for three things: having my favorite cover art for a Star Wars book, having a favorite minor character (Liegus Vorn) in a dull setting, and that dream sequence where Leia was the dark emperor, Luke was frozen in carbonite, and Han was dead by her own hand (parallel universe = mind blown).

My second experience wi
Naima Haviland
Jan 22, 2012 Naima Haviland rated it really liked it
Barbara Hambly's Renfield: Slave of Dracula is not only good storytelling, but great prose, imaginative, poetic. It is a unique take on Renfield, the madman in Bram Stoker's Dracula. In Hambly's novel, Renfield, is the central character. He is a driving force in the added action that distinguishes Renfield: Slave of Dracula from the original Dracula. Hambly also managed to add depth and character development to the original story. However, she did this without changing the storyline of S ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Vex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dracula fans
Shelves: read-2012
I stumbled across this book while browsing my local library. I'm a huge Dracula and all things related. So I REALLY wanted to like this book.

About 20 pages in I found myself being forced to turn each page. Because I wanted to like it. But I just couldn't get in to it. The story was a little too redundant for someone so familiar with Bram Stoker's tale. Looking back, I suppose it could be considered as an introduction to those less familiar with the classical vampire story.

I had almost lost hope
Dec 14, 2010 Shari is currently reading it
I like Hambly's style of prose. She doesn't deviate too much from Bram Stoker's Renfield character, yet she adds enough meat onto his character, which perhaps makes him a bit more appreciated and understood. He starts out as the same Renfield we know from the novel Dracula, and Hambly refreshes our memory with quotations from Stoker's original work. Eventually,we see him as a newly "un-dead" person freed from his insanity in Dracula with death in this novel, yet primarily still viewed, for the m ...more
Karen Dales
Jun 01, 2011 Karen Dales rated it it was ok
I first have to state that I love “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. It is by far one of my favourite books, so when I saw Ms Hambly’s retelling through Ryland Renfield I had to grab it.

Written very much in the style of “Dracula” the feeling that it was the next novel in a series really came to light. I enjoyed it, but, surprisingly, not as much as I had hoped. “Renfield” does give a greater story to Ryland and his madness, but what I missed was hearing his own back story of how he ended up (from his per
May 22, 2016 Michael added it
Shelves: horror, mystery
This well written novel tells the story of Dracula from the point of view of Renfield. Renfield at first admires Count Dracula for both is power and immortality but then sees him for who he really is and attempts to stop him from adding Mina Harker as one of his undead brides. An interesting twist to the old vampire story Renfield was a fun read.
The first half was pretty good. Better than most of the Dracula spin-off books I've tried. I kind of liked not knowing what the crap was going on, and trying to figure out what Renfield thought he was doing. I also liked the tiny bits of other POV that sort of expanded on the original book.

Having said that, the last half was not nearly as good. As soon as the brides showed up, things took a turn for the stale and uninteresting. I didn't like their characterization, especially Nomie. Their dialo
Jun 07, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it
I can't recall any other books that I've read that put a new spin on a classic, although this is a recently popular concept (i.e. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). I have always had a love for poor old Renfield and this trip through his troubled mind was very interesting.

Most of the book reads as journal entries and new spins on the original tale of Dracula. My favorite reference that Hambly often makes is to Wagner operas, pitting Renfield as a huge Wagner nut (no pun intended), such as I am.
Nov 09, 2008 Bill rated it liked it
I like this book, but having never read Bram Stoker's original, I'm sure it would have been better had I really had a good grasp of the story. This is basically a retelling of the Dracula story from the perspective of Renfield, who we first meet an an inmate of the Rushbrook asylum. The text is made up of a mixture of passages from the notes and diaries of several characters, including Renfield himself, Jonathan Harker, and Dr. Seward, as well as letters between Lucy and Mina, simple narrative p ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010booksread
Ok. Normally I wouldn't choose to read a book called "Renfield: Slave of Dracula". But I've been enjoying Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January series, so I know she can wright. And I am, or at least was, a Dracula geek. I've read many different takes on Dracula: retellings, sequels, prequels. This is yet another one, a retelling of Dracula from Renfield's point of view. It's ok, and manages to capture some of the melodrama of the original. But ultimately, Renfield is not a very likeable character a ...more
Sep 28, 2011 Connie rated it liked it
Shelves: vampire
It was interesting being shown Renfield from a different side. I liked that Stoker's original was adhered to so well. There were a couple of parts where I found my suspension-of-disbelief tested by Hambly- points about vampire's powers sort of dropped cold into the story, or made up as she went along; and I never felt very sympathetic towards any of the characters. I would recommend the James Asher series for a better example of Hambly's vampire novels, especially the first, 'Those Who Hunt the ...more
Nov 20, 2011 Kristi rated it liked it
My husband and I have always loved Bram Stoker's Dracula and I was intrigued by the premise of Renfield's backstory, so I picked this up as a stocking stuffer for my husband. He read it and was enthusiastically positive about it so I read it, too, and enjoyed it very much. It's written in the style of the original Dracula, with correspondence, newspaper articles, etc., as the primary means of storytelling. Very true to the original feel and writing-style. Better than I'd hoped. I'll probably rea ...more
May 19, 2015 Marge rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-horror
I didn't expect much from this book, but I surprisingly loved it. It was well written and imaginative.
Jul 09, 2015 Tonia rated it it was amazing
I had to finish this book!
Rena Sherwood
Dec 20, 2014 Rena Sherwood rated it really liked it
Shelves: otherworldly
I always wondered about Renfield, the bug-eating servant of Count Dracula. Now I no longer wonder about him. You do not need to read Bram Stoker's Dracula to get the gist of this book, but you need to at least see Tom Waits' performance as Renfield in Dracula (1992.)
Jun 08, 2014 Grace rated it it was amazing
Terrific. The story lined up well with Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it was interesting to get a different viewpoint, to get an idea of where Renfield's mind was at while his master was out at play in England. I think Hambly did a wonderful job with this book.
Apr 23, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of vampire fiction
A clever twist on the Dracula tale, told from the viewpoint of Renfield. Hambly's version of his madness makes a great deal of sense, and fills in the blanks in Stoker's original story. By taking the focus away from Dracula himself, Hambly is able to tell a more personal tale about a man's descent into darkness. Renfield's madness, and even his fascination with eating insects, become a poignant story about a man whose illness was far beyond the medicine of the day.
Michelle Wardhaugh
I thought about reading the original Dracula first, but I didn't have it on hand. This is a nice retelling. I'll probably like it better than the original. It was amazing how a serial killer could be made into a sympathetic protagonist. Hambly makes you buy into his world view even while revealing that it isn't in sync with the way most other people would see things.
Mar 06, 2009 Cindy rated it liked it
This book was surprisingly well written and entertaining. I didn't expect too much, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did like the book. As you can see from my rating, I didn't think it was fabulous, but I would definitely recommend it for entertaining, light reading. One additional positive about the book is that it has prompted me to re-read Dracula.
Oct 31, 2007 Rachael rated it it was ok
The best thing I can say about this book is that it made me want to go back and reread Stoker's original text.

That may be a little unfair. It was well-written, and it certainly gave a convincing background story for Renfield's motivations (remember him? he's the guy who eats flies), but I thought the ending was way too neat and tidy.
May 17, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it
I liked the book. I would suggest rereading Dracula, before reading this. I got lost a couple of times and then I found my way. Renfield's character is one that you feel sorry for in a way. His own grief drove into madness. A man divided between wanting to go good for others and wanting to protect his family.
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
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